IWC’s Evolutionary Commitment

By  |  0 Comments

It is, in many respects, a curious kind of offer. IWC has kindly provided its fans with the opportunity to spend some of their money, not on watches, but on flora and fauna several thousand miles away. A new deal between the German watch company and the Charles Darwin Foundation invites the donation of anywhere between $20 and $1000, for which the donors receive, well, not a lot really: the symbolic adoption of an endangered species or, at best, invitations to IWC boutique events and preferential treatment – should one ever choose to travel to meet with said flora and fauna several thousand miles away.

IWC_AQUATIMER DEEP THREE

It is, clearly, hardly the high glamour sales pitch typical of the watch industry, which for decades has strived to associate itself with classic yacht racing and Formula One, aerobatic teams, Grand Slam tennis players and Hollywood superstars. IWC has many ‘Friends of the brand’, comprising movie stars, musicians and sports celebrities… so this initiative is something of a contrast.

“We’ve never been a company to use personalities to push products, and we’re not a brand that’s ever been about glitz and flashiness, but understatement and substance over style, so to speak,” counters Simon Chambers, IWC’s brand director. “But what’s more is the fact that deals like the one for the Charles Darwin Foundation are good things to do, and the right things to do. Yes, it gives a form of credibility to IWC that you can’t get by association with a Hollywood celebrity. But, more than that, there’s a new consumer than expects more from the brands they buy into than product alone. They want to see a demonstration of a commitment to society.”

Even if that society comprises the likes of fish-eating snakes, mangrove finches, whale sharks, marine iguanas and giant tortoises – these and the many other strange and fascinating inhabitants of the Galapagos archipelago that the Charles Darwin Foundation, the only charity to focus exclusively on the conservation and sustainability of the archipelago, is doing much to protect. Indeed, the commitment is important precisely because that society does comprise such rare species – 40 per cent of the islands’ species are indigenous, 95 per cent of their original bio-diversity still intact; it has yet to lose an endemic bird species while, in comparison, a third of Hawaii’s are already extinct and many of the rest endangered.

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

Of course, IWC makes capital out of its relationship with the Foundation – association with the emphatically wild nature of the island chain gives authority to the outward-bound image of its diving watches, for example, most typically its Aquatimer range, special editions of which were launched this year to underline this association. But then a closer look at the Galapagos – like ‘Serengeti’, a byword for the grandiosity of nature to most – and it reveals the importance of just such a relationship.

Let the man whose ancestor first identified the islands’ global importance – Randall Keynes, great, great grandson to Charles Darwin, author and now campaigner for the Foundation – explain why IWC’s philosophy is, and here the pun is entirely deliberate, a suitably evolved one. “When I first went to the Galapagos they had already been so much part of my life I was terrified I’d be disappointed,” says the man who spent his school-days blithely ignorant of quite why so many of his school chums kept cracking jokes about his being descended from a monkey.

“But I was simply blown away – it was a spiritual experience,” Keynes adds. “The wonder of the place is that, because it has been cut off from human contact, one can get extraordinarily close to the wildlife, but also that life there is still getting established, these are still islands newly-emerging from the ocean. Its global peculiarity is its ability to show the process of evolution. It’s a one-off living experiment. And it was for this reason that, during one five-week visit in 1835, a young naturalist [Darwin] came to spot the mechanism of that process. But it’s also a unique test-bed in the human impact on highly fragile natural life, a problem we’re seeing again and again across the planet.”

Certainly, as Chambers stresses, that is why the Foundation needs all the help it can get, be it money, plain and simple, the helping hand of a global brand the likes of IWC, or even just its PR office, of a scale and reach that the Foundation might only dream of. Ocean acidification – one of the least well-known environmental problems of global import – has, for example, already killed off much of the coral around this UNESCO World Heritage site. Meanwhile, tourism is central to the archipelago’s economy – and the income of many local Ecuadorians – and yet its growth also threatens to cross a tipping point when it will start to destroy its very raison d’etre. “The future of the Galapagos is uncertain – it could easily be conserved so that we could appreciate it for ever more, but to do that the number of humans visiting has to be controlled,” as Keynes says, sounding not too positive.

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

The decision to implement that control, however, may well be not too far off, perhaps in no small part down to the fact that Galapagos itself is, as Ian Dunn puts it, “… a powerful brand that people want to listen to, certainly far above what the size of the islands or the charity would warrant, and while it’s a small part of the entire conservation world – it’s just an ocean archipelago – its place in the theory of evolution and its social impact means that it punches above its weight.” Dunn is an environmental scientist and the chief executive of the Galapagos Conservation Trust and, perhaps unexpectedly given its remit, spent much of his career in the petro-chemical industry – giving him, he argues, the kind of business nous many NGOs lack.

He argues that, while the Galapagos brand can be pushed further to beneficial effect – September, for example, sees the launch in Ecuadorian schools of an educational programme on the importance of the archipelago, one which is set to be rolled out to schools in the UK too – getting in more money will also be crucial. “Just relatively small amounts of money can make a huge difference. We’re working on a shoestring budget here compared with what’s spent in the corporate world. And I speak as someone from the corporate world. A simple commercial arrangement with a company, the likes of IWC giving us $250,000, allows us to run a protection programme for an entire species for a year.”

Perhaps a small example will illustrate just what challenges lie ahead for the Galapagos, how one might be hopeful for its conservation, but also rather cautious in one’s hope. One of the biggest challenges the islands face comes from an invasive species that might, in time, prove a serious threat to the native birds. That species is a tiny fly. And how does one even begin to eradicate a fly that has spread to all corners of an archipelago covering 45,000 square kilometres?

f7^5&cAA*@M1hodAQ0iTUKRy

Read more

Post image

THE NEW STRIKE FORCE- Breitling Avenger Hurricane Military



With its black avant-garde case in Breitlight®, its dial with aeronautical-type numerals and its selfwinding Manufacture Breitling caliber powering an exclusive 24-hour display, the new Avenger Hurricane Military limited series proudly displays the assets of an instrument for which prowess is the norm. On this new version of this superlative-charged chronograph, issued in a 1,000-piece […]


Post image

Baselworld; Witness the dawn of the trends



Baselworld is the single-most important trendsetting show for the world’s watch and jewellery industry. What makes it unmissable is the fact that only here will you find all the key players representing every sector of the industry together under one roof. Baselworld is where the most prestigious international brands unveil their innovations, creations and new […]


Post image

HUBLOT SPIRIT OF BIG BANG MOONPHASE HUBLOT PAINTS THE MOON IN COLOURS



Hublot’s love of colour infuses the Spirit of Big Bang Moonphase with four new models in shades of blue, purple, orange and pink. Matching strap, quartz dial, sand-blasted moon phase disc, hands, indices and stone-set bezel all set the tone of this vivid monochrome collection. Are you hoping for light and colour this summer? Hublot […]


Post image

Momentous Times



In the year that celebrates the 200th birthday of Ferdinand Adolph Lange – founder of A. Lange & Söhne – the preeminent watchmaker of Glashütte inaugurates a magnificent new Manufacture. Nick Rice attends the grand occasion. Despite the volatile anD troubleD times we live in, it’s a fitting mark of respect that the German Chancellor […]


Post image

What does it take to design a Vacheron Constantin?



Vincent Kauffmann is Design Director at Vacheron Constantin and that is of course many watch entusiasts dream job. But what does it actually take to design a watch from scratch? And how do you maintain the great heritage of oldest watch manufacturer still operating? That and much more is answered in this great video by Vacheron Constantin. Click play below […]


Post image

Glashütte Original celebrates the sixties



Few decades left such a mark on history as the sixties. Glashütte Original decided to celebrate the moonlanding, the summer of love and the Beatles with The Sixties Line. Let’s take a closer look on one of my favorites from the line.   The collection is a reflection of the era and the retro-modern touches such […]


Post image

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Extra-Thin The Hour Glass Limited Edition



This Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Extra-Thin Limited Edition for Singapore retailer The Hour Glass might be a future collectors favourite, but maybe not for the reasons you would expect. This is not only a limited edition for Singapore’s top retailer The Hour Glass. It’s also a tribute to Singapore’s 50th birthday, hence there will be only […]


Post image

TAG Heuer Monaco V4 Phantom



Perhaps you like the iconic TAG Heuer Monaco. And perhaps your name is Batman. And if so I must say that the V4 Phantom goes great with your Lamborghini Aventador. But maybe you are just a regular guy, and if that is the case then this stealth version of the Monaco is still a great choice. The […]


Post image

Porsche and Chopard wins LeMans 24 hours



What does LeMans 24 hours, Porsche and Chopard share? Winning, as it turns out. Porsche claimed their 17th victory at the 83rd edition of LeMans 24 hours race which took place saturday the 13th of june. That makes them not only a very successful team but also the most successful team in the history of […]


Post image

Tag Heuer Celebrates Henrik Lundqvist



Swedish ice hockey legend Henrik Lundqvist is not just a Olympic games winning goalie, he’s also well dressed and ambassador for Tag Heuer. By being New York Rangers goalie Henrik knows very well how to handle pressure. Our favorite Swede in New York recently dropped by the Tag Heuer’s 5th Avenue Boutique to receive a Carrera 1887 Chronograph engraved with “#DontCrackUnderPressure”. […]


Post image

Omega Speedmaster ’57 Co-Axial



There’s a thin line between 1957 and today. And as it turns out it goes just over the iconic Omega Speedmaster. The new Omega Speedmaster ’57 (ref 331.10.42.51.01.002) is a subtle nod to the first ever Speedmaster, with iconic details like the straight lugs and broad arrows. Released at BaselWorld this year and perhaps my very […]